BOSTON, MA: David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox legs out a double against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
David Ortiz received a platelet-rich plasma injection (PRP) a few weeks back, in the hopes of returning to the Red Sox in 2012. While the injection is doing what it's supposed to, the Red Sox are not, as they are now 1-9 in their last 10, losers of four-straight, and 15-1/2 games back of the wild card with 21 games to go. This, combined with the need to only bring Ortiz back were he 100 percent healthy once more, likely means that Boston's designated hitter isn't coming back this season.
"To be honest with you, what I'm looking for right now is to make sure I heal up the right way," Ortiz said. "I pushed it once. It didn't work. So I'm not going to push it again. If I'm good to go, I'm good to go. If I am, I am."
That should be Ortiz's point of view, and it's not a selfish one, either, as the Red Sox are publicly interested in retaining Ortiz in 2013. The return of Ortiz would be a boon to a lineup that just isn't as deep as it has been in past seasons, following the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to Los Angeles. With Ortiz back, though, and Will Middlebrooks returned from injury, the 2013 lineup looks a whole lot different even before you consider an off-season of improvements could be ahead.
On Friday, manager Bobby Valentine hinted that John Lackey might make an appearance in a regular season game with the Red Sox before the 2012 season ends. Lackey, recovering from Tommy John surgery, would be making his first appearance since last September. This was an aggressive timetable, and while Lackey's arm might be up to it, his doctors feel there is no reason to rush the process given he has the entire off-season ahead of him:
"No, I'm not going to push it that hard. My doctor doesn't want me to pitch this year. [My arm] was pretty messed up, so he wants it to rest."
This isn't to say that Lackey isn't going to throw a baseball. He threw live batting practice on Saturday off of a mound, and might do so again on Wednesday. The right-hander might also end up being one of Boston's seven players in the Arizona Fall League, in order to get him some off-season game action a little later on than the regular season allows.
Lackey isn't the only Red Sox hurler who won't pitch in 2012. Franklin Morales, on the disabled list with a shoulder issue, is unlikely to return to action. Like Lackey, there's no reason to push him with the Red Sox in disarray and the off-season looming. Morales will get an MRI on his shoulder, though, just so the Red Sox know if he's sore for reasons beyond needing the rest.